Fried Klondike Bar
Two questions arise when one contemplates this creation: One, how is it made, and two, how quickly does it melt? The famed ice cream bar is stabbed with a stick, brought down to a temperature of 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, then dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried for less than a minute. Eat it quick—this thing becomes funnel cake dumplings in ice cream soup in about two minutes.
Chicken and waffles on a stick
The famed southern dish gets a makeover. These bite-sized pieces of chicken are dipped in malted waffle batter, quickly fried, and served with a maple syrup drizzle over a dusting of powdered sugar. We tried them twice—once a few minutes post-fry, and once immediately after they came out of the hot oil. Unsurprisingly, the conclusion was the hotter the better.
Created in 1963 by Bernell Austin of Atkins, AR, fried pickles are nothing new to the Natural State. But vendors are always trying to find a new way to serve them. This year's versions include a panko-battered pickle, one dipped in beer batter, and a tempura-battered version. They're usually served with ranch dressing, but some vendors offer everything from sour cream to barbecue sauce to dip your spear.
Apple pie funnel cake a la mode
Combining an old-fashioned apple pie with a deep and high funnel cake, this concoction is a basically a crown of funnel cake with hot apple pie filling, topped with ice cream. Get the works, which include peanuts, caramel, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a cherry.
Proving that you really can fry anything, this concoction is funnel cake batter blended with the popular gelatin dessert (cherry flavor) drizzled with frosting. Warning: These little balls are surprisingly filling. Try with friends.
Fried pineapple upside down cake on a stick
Upping the anty from the 2011 entry from the State Fair of Texas, this version of fried pineapple upside down cake involves chunks of pineapple dunked in pineapple cake batter, then deep-fried and served with brown sugar and, of course, a cherry.
Deep fried S'mores Pop Tart a la mode
Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a S'mores Pop Tart that's toasted, battered, deep-fried, and served with a scoop of ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Fried Banana Split
It's not all fried... just the banana. This is a frozen banana dipped in funnel cake batter and deep-fried, plopped down in a split boat, topped with two scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, drizzles of chocolate and strawberry syrup, and the obligatory cherry on top.
Hot buttered corn and sweet potatoes
Sometimes simpler is better. One vendor is sticking to the garden with roasted corn and roasted sweet potatoes. But just when you thought you were getting a healthy snack, the girl at the window opens the butter vat (yes, you can have your vegetable un-dipped). You can also shake on one of a dozen different blends of spices, including garlic salt, rosemary salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Chocolate covered Twinkies
Perhaps the most sane thing to do to a Twinkie... this is one of the popular yellow snack cakes dipped in both white and milk chocolate, served on a stick.
This is a pork steak, battered and deep fried, on a stick. Is there really anything more to say? Oh, the preferred dip for this monstrosity is ketchup.
Deep fried cream cheese filled sausage balls
Sausage balls are great. Sausage balls battered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried are even better. But add in a filling of cream cheese, and you have the equivalent of culinary napalm. In other words: let these cool before you eat 'em.
Fry bread taco
Long known as a staple of the American southwest, this first-timer at the Arkansas State Fair is a mammoth meal, with layers of chili (with or without beans), lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, and salsa to dig through. This thing is easily large enough to feed two. A dessert variant is simply dusted with cinnamon sugar.
Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger
A split Krispy Kreme doughnut sandwiching bacon slices and a cheese-clad beef patty. We expect to see a battered and deep fried version of this next year.
Deep-fried Rice Krispie Treat
Lightweight, simple, and quick, this is a funnel cake-battered Rice Krispie Treat on a stick, dusted with powdered sugar with an optional caramel or chocolate drizzle.